History of intrauterine contraception


Looking at the modern intrauterine devices, gleaming with copper, silver and gold braiding, it is difficult to imagine that their ancestors are ordinary desert stones. More than 4 thousand years ago to prevent the camels from becoming pregnant which was undesirable during long marches across the desert, Bedouins-nomads placed small smooth stones into the wombs of the animals. The references about the use of intrauterine contraception by women dating back to the 16th century were found in the Far East. In order to prevent pregnancy, Japanese women used silver balls that were placed into the uterus.
At the beginning of the XIX century appeared pessaries - special diaphragms which were inserted into the vagina with the aim of supporting the genital organs. Their "side" contraceptive effect was noticed by the scientists and served as the basis for creating a similar device, but for the insertion into the uterus. The euphoria about the invention did not last long. The “contraceptive” was intended for self-use, infections were constantly carried into the uterus, and this was the cause of a huge number of serious inflammatory complications. As a result medical community rejected their development. At the beginning of the 20th century, the first intrauterine devices appeared. They consisted of the loops of filaments made from small cattle intestines. The material quickly decayed and therefore was soon replaced by silk. Thus in 1909 thanks to Richter R. the first intrauterine contraceptive appeared - a ring of silk threads which was completely inserted into the uterus. In 1923 Pust modified Richter R.'s ring having attached a catgut's “tail” to it, thus facilitating the removal of the contraceptive, but even in this form the IUD did not become popular - the infectious minuses of the contraception brought its advantages to nought. In 1929 German scientist Ernst Grafenberg developed and proposed the use of a silver circle-shaped contraceptive, it was much better than its predecessors, but it had one major drawback - it was deformed during the uterine contractions and it fell out of it during the menstruation.
In 1934 thanks to the Japanese scientist Ota the ring gained support elements, but even this did not save the invention, it was subjected to harsh criticism and was excluded from general use. Despite the opposition of the medical community, Richter-Ota ring has found its place in gynecology. Its cheapness, a small number of side effects of silver contraceptive and lack of alternative equally reliable methods of protection against pregnancy have made the contraceptive popular among the doctors and women. The science of intrauterine contraception began to develop by leaps and bounds. In 1958 the first plastic (inert) IUD appeared - Lippes loop. All subsequent inventions differed from it only in form and had rather large sizes which became the cause of uterine bleeding. Moreover, every fifth woman who used an inert IUD became pregnant within a year. This result did not satisfy either the doctors or the patients themselves. In 1968 the contraceptive properties of copper were discovered, and it became an integral component of all IUDs. Inert plastic spirals lost their positions and were later excluded from the list of recommended ones. Silver was added to the IUDs in order to protect copper from destruction and to enhance the protective properties of IUD, many contraceptives with copper braiding have silver core. In 2001, a new stage in the development of intrauterine contraception began. The intrauterine device has become a hormonal system containing gestogens - analogues of female sexual progesterone. The IUDs "learned" not only to prevent pregnancy, but also to treat a number of gynecological diseases.